Introduction: Making Enamel Badges
Hi everyone, in this Instructable I will show you how I use an inexpensive CNC to make some enamel badges.
This is very handy when you are restoring machinery and need some replacement badges, and a great way to generate an income from an inexpensive machine.
Let's get started!...
- A CNC, any CNC should work as engraving 0.2mm in aluminium takes very little effort from the machine.
- Some engraving bits, I recommend a bit that has an angle around 10 degrees to improve detail.
- ~1mm aluminium/brass sheet.
- Some enamel paint.
- Sanding paper
- Metal polish
Step 1: Let's Get Started...
First you will need to find a design for your badges.
The easiest would be to already have a design in SVG format that you can directly load into your software, but it is also possible to upload a picture of your design to a website like Vectorizer that will convert the image to a SVG file that can then be used.
To generate the gcode needed to engrave you need CAM software, for this I always turn to Vectric Aspire as it is easy to use and always reliable.
From my chosen design I generated a engraving toolpath that will cut 0.15mm deep with my 0.1mm 15deg bit.
My CNC runs on a GRBL board and I use BCNC to operate it.
Step 2: Moving on to the Machine
Now that we have the gcode needed to engrave our badges we can set up our machine.
I fasten my aluminium sheet to the CNC by sticking masking/painters tape to both the sheet and the spoilboard of the CNC, then use CA glue between the aluminium sheet and spoilboard.
Once you have your aluminium sheet securely fastened it's very important to probe the entire work area with the auto-levelling feature this will ensure that you have an equal engraving depth throughout.
Load your gcode and start the engraving process.
Step 3: Fill 'er Up
Once your machine is finished you can lift the newly engraved badges from the CNC and get them ready for painting.
I like to give the badges a light brush with a brass wire brush to get rid of any burrs left over from engraving, next I rub them down well with some acetone to remove any oily residue that might be on them.
Now we can fill in the voids with our enamel paint, I thin down my enamel considerably to make sure it gets into all the nooks and crannies. This also makes it possible to just pour the enamel onto the badges and also speeds up the drying time.
The hardest part now is to wait for the paint to completely dry, if it is still tacky it will peel off as you sand it.
When your paint is dry you can take some 400grit sanding paper and lay it down on a sheet of glass, this will help to reveal your design without sanding away the paint in between.
Wet the sanding paper with water and dish washing liquid and start sanding your badge in circular motions.
Stop sanding as soon as your design is fully exposed otherwise you run the risk of sanding through the raised areas and ruining the badge.
After sanding you can take a soft rag with some metal polish and buff the entire badge until it's nice and shiny.
Step 4: We're Done!
To preserve your badge better you can apply a thin layer of clear lacquer.
And that's it.. stand back and admire your shiny new enamel badge
......now imagine all those projects that could benefit from one of these
Participated in the
CNC Contest 2020